Transit cuts deal for students, veterans

College students and veterans in Sonoma County can now ride the Sonoma County Transit for free in 2015. The only requirement is students show a 2015 school ID, and veterans are required to show a Veterans Administration or Sonoma County Veterans ID. 

Many people have reacted positively in regard to this new transportation option for students and veterans. 

“Finally college students can ride the bus for free in Sonoma County,” said student, Kionna Crosby. “Freshman year my roommates wanted to go on adventures, but none of us had a car, so we were limited in what we could do.”  

This is part of a one-year pilot program that is being funded by the county to test the impact of free rides, and whether or not the program will increase ridership.  It’s believed that the free bus rides in Sonoma County will also reduce the amount of traffic around college campuses. 

“The Santa Rosa Junior College saw a high day of 700 rides, while Sonoma State topped out at just over a 100 rides,” said Bryan Albee, manager of Sonoma County Transit Systems.

Albee also said that other colleges offer “free” bus rides, however those fees are covered by the student’s tuition, whereas this program will cost the students absolutely nothing. Instead the county is reimbursing Sonoma County Transit through the county general fund. 

As the year goes on Albee is confident ridership will increase, and more students will take advantage of this generous program. 

“A few of my friends don’t have cars, and they work at the mall,” said student, Chelly Canas. “A good part of their paycheck ends up going to transportation.” 

Expenses pile up for students in college, and for some students it’s a relief to not have to worry about transportation. Many believe that living on campus can be difficult, and asking for rides can be a burden on friends, but now students can go anywhere in Sonoma County for free. 

Not only will students save a significant amount of money, they will no longer feel restricted to campus or Rohnert Park. 

If a student wants to plan a trip via Sonoma County Transit, they are encouraged to go to sctransit.com, where they have a full schedule of routes and times. The buses go as far north as Cloverdale, and travel as far south as San Rafael. 

Living off campus is significantly cheaper than living on campus, but not having a car can make getting to school a challenge

“When I went to University of California, Davis, I lived off campus and having the bus pass made getting to school easy,” said student, Eddy Gibbs. “But when I came to Sonoma State, I found getting to campus difficult without the bus.” 

Now students have a reliable means of getting to school each day, and there is no excuse for missing class because of a lack of transportation. 

While many students do have a car, they are also encouraged to take advantage of this program. Riding the bus significantly reduces the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted, because for every person that rides the bus, that is one less car on the road. 

If this program is successful in 2015, chances are Sonoma County will continue to fund this program in the future. 

For students who are looking for more information about this program, they are encouraged to visit sctransit.com. 

The campus bus stop is located in the front of the school, and don’t forget the buses will sometimes run early, so students are encouraged to show up a few minutes ahead of schedule.